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Holiday shopping on a budget

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Holiday shopping on a budget
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Maybe you started on Black Friday or perhaps Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday are more your thing. Whenever you plan to start checking your list, chances are you're trying to not go overboard with spending. Our Sarah Blazonis has some tips on how to stick to your budget.

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Between the sales advertised and the generous spirit of the season, holiday budgeting is no easy task. Some shoppers say part of their buying strategies involve taking a page from the ultimate gift giver himself.

"Just stick to the list and try not to be tempted by those great bargains that are out there," said Cato resident Ashley Wilkins.

"Keep track as you buy the gifts. Kind of count them and add up how much you spent," said Baldwinsville resident Dennis Reedy.

That type of organization is at the top of Credit Counselor Kiesha Johnson's list of tips for smart spending.

Johnson said, "Go through those circulars and know what you really, really want and what you really need. Plan ahead and know how much you can really afford to spend."

Once you've got your list and limit down, Johnson recommends paying with cash instead of credit. Don't open a store credit card unless you'll be able to pay it off before the next billing cycle.

Research is also important. Make sure that great deal you've found isn't actually available for a lower price at another store.

But shoppers say no matter how much planning they do, the fastest way to blow their budgets often comes in the unexpected form of the impulse buy.

Reedy said, "It's a special time of year and you want to give as much as you can to your kids, I think, so it's hard to keep it within budget, but we try."

Johnson says in cases like this, patience can sometimes pay off.

"Believe it or not, they'll run their numbers and if they don't get the numbers they want, they'll have after Christmas sales and they'll have Presidents Day sales. They'll have a lot of sales, so people don't need to feel like they have to get it then and there," Johnson said.

You'll also want to check it twice, your receipt, that is, to make sure you actually got the holiday bargains promised.

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